Needing A Job by John Grochalski

it was buffalo
and i hadn’t worked in over a month
and all i did was sit in the apartment
and eat bologna sandwiches and drink labatt beer
when my wife got home from her job
i was sort of drunk
my wife always managed to find a job first
in whatever city we moved to
it was always me sitting at home
eating cold cuts and drinking beer
or going to temp agencies
or filling out applications in big box stores
always me needing a job
and it was buffalo in may
but it felt like march outside
but i walked the city looking for work anyway
i drove up its empty drags searching for help wanted
and there were no jobs at the temp agencies
and the big box stores weren’t hiring
neither were the non-profits and the cold offices
it looked like it was going to snow in may
and i thought at least that would be something
i found this job in a bath and shower warehouse
and i sat in front of bald man
who was doing interviews
and he had a goatee because he was bald
and he asked me if i wanted to work in the warehouse
as if he and i had been searching for each other
our whole lives
and he showed me pictures of the team
on their kayaking trips
he said, do you like to kayak?
and i had no answer for that
he said, just one thing,
on your resume it says you write
he said, what kind of writing do you do?
the occasional wrong-headed, misguided rant
on someone’s blog, i said
and when he didn’t laugh at that i said
poetry…and fiction
he said, hmmmm….well….i really want to hire you
but what happens if you write a novel?
will you just up and quit?
and i wanted to tell him how hard it was to write a novel
how much harder it was to get a novel published
i wanted to talk to the bath and shower warehouse man
about literary agents and editors
and marketing and the whole whoring business of writing
but instead i just looked around the office
and said, i need a job
because my wife and i were on our third city
in as many years
because i was getting fat sitting alone at home
eating bologna sandwiches and drinking
all of that beer
because a savings account can only go so far
and the bills were due and the landlord wanted rent
the warehouse guy said you’re hired
and i told him great
even though i hoped to drive the car
over one of those highway embankments on the way home
he showed me the warehouse
it was full of bath and shower parts
and people walking around looking like they’d
needed a job at one point in their lives
and this was the best that they’d gotten
for being born against their will
the bald, goateed warehouse man handed me paperwork
and i walked out of the squat building like a zombie
and i sat in the car and watched the sun droop in the sky
i thought about spending the next thirty years in there
and by some dark magic i didn’t drive over an embankment
but instead went home to where my wife
was already back from work
making spaghetti and drinking a labatt blue
and i kissed her on the lips
and got a labatt blue out of the fridge
and i sat at the kitchen table looking at the paperwork
as food was being cooked
and my stomach rumbled
and outside our little kitchen window
i swear on christ’s wooden cross
i saw a snowflake fall.


John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), and the novel, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013). Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, in the section that doesn’t have the bike sharing program.


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